Home Agriculture and Climate Delayed Rains Deal A Major Blow To Farmers

Delayed Rains Deal A Major Blow To Farmers

by Bustop TV News

By Takunda Mandura

Farmers are in distress as the 2021-22 farming season has to date offered them very little rain due to changing climatic patterns, resulting in their crops wilting.

Crops which are not under irrigation are in a temporary and some a permanent wilting stage.

Zimbabwe has particularly been endangered because of its reliance on rain-fed agriculture, although some funds have been set aside for the construction of various water harvesting projects.

According to the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Mashonaland  Central Provincial manager Cleopas Mazhoshera some sections of the province have been affected by the scorching sun which affected plant germination.

“In Matepatepa Bindura, the situation is horrible. It calls for replanting because germinated plants withered due to the scorching sun, germination was equally poor in hard soils,” he said.

Meteorologist at the Meteorological Services Department Benjamin Kwenda stated that Mashonaland provinces have not yet received enough rainfall to date.

He said: “So we can’t say that the farming season has not shifted as yet because we are still at work to do the assessment. But of course, they are places where there has been a let on set.

“I think these are mostly places around Mashonaland Central, parts of Mashonaland West and also parts of Mashonaland East as well because they had not yet received enough rain for them to be able to plant. It all depends on what stage they actually got to before they receive the rains, one if they have actually reached the permanent wilting point. In other words, this cannot be salvaged, so we should mean the best way to actually do it will be to replant.”

The meteorological department has encouraged farmers to adopt the short to medium term variety of plants.

He added: “So the encouragement is that farmers can still plant, they can still go ahead and plant. But however, we are no longer encouraging them to do any longer seasonal varieties or the late maturity varieties.

“So we will then encourage them to plant early maturing varieties because these will then fit within the window that we have observed in recent seasons. With regards to when then we will also, we are also encouraging them to do crops such as the pulses, such as beans and also even other tubers. You know sweet potatoes.”

Director of Climate Change Management, Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Washington Zhakata acknowledged that there are funds set aside in the 2022 Budget for climate change but are spread across various ministries.

“Yes, there is. The Environment Ministry has its own, Agriculture and Water Ministry has its own, same as Energy, Local government and Women Affairs. We may not have all the figures, but for our Environment Ministry it’s just above ZWL$80Million.”

Zhakata said the country also lacks adequate water for the livestock due to the erratic rainfall.

“Yes, crops have been affected by the erratic character of the season. Already those who planted early may lose the crop. Water availability is not adequate for livestock.”

The 2022 National Budget is mainly anchored on the agricultural sector with the Agriculture Ministry having received the highest allocation of $124 ZWL billion, which is 12,8% of the total budget of $927.3 ZWL billion.

‘This article was produced with the financial support of WAN-IFRA Media Freedom. Its contents are the sole responsibility of <Takunda Mandura/BustopTV> and do not necessarily reflect the views of the WAN-IFRA Media Freedom,WAN-IFRA FR, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.’

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